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Obama Clings to Smallest Lead in Florida, But His Ohio Margin May Make Florida Irrelevant

| October 31, 2012

They may not have to move out just yet. (White House)

The latest Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News poll–one of the more reliable polls tracking the swing-state electorate–shows President Obama again in the lead in Florida, but by the smallest margin, after a few other polls had shown Mitt Romney overtaking Obama in early October. The Quinnipiac poll has Obama ahead 48-47, well within the poll’s margin of error. That makes the race too close to call in this state.

For Obama, it’s a far smaller lead than Quinnipiac’s last Florida poll in late September, when he was ahead 53-44. But that was after the effects of Romney’s remark accusing 47 percent of the electorate of being freeloaders, and before Obama’s dismal performance at the first presidential debate in Denver. On the other hand, the Quinnipiac numbers do not reflect reactions to the president’s handling of Hurricane Sandy, which so far has garnered the loudest endorsement from a Republican–New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Real Clear Politics’s average of Florida polls still has Romney ahead by one point.

Florida may be becoming more irrelevant to Obama’s chances of winning, however. The Quinnipiac poll has the president ahead by five points in Ohio, well outside the margin of error, adding to virtually every other poll that sees Obama ahead in Ohio, by a combined average of 2.4 points. (The one exception is the poll from Rasmussen Reports, which has questionable polling methods.) If Obama carries Ohio, it is virtually impossible for Romney to win the electoral college–and therefore the election–without winning Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and Wisconsin, all of which are currently toss-ups with slight to pronounced leans toward Obama. If current trends hold, what had appeared to be a much tighter race two weeks ago has again reverted to a more assured path to victory for Obama, and not by a very small margin, as some analysts see it: Obama could carry well over 300 electoral votes (270 are needed to win).

Early voting so far has favored Obama in Iowa and Nevada, but not necessarily in Florida, where the numbers are more muddled. The race has also been characterized by seesawing: there may yet be a lurch one way or the other.

“The gender gap which has marked this campaign is getting smaller in Florida and Virginia,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said. “In general, women are about 10 points plus for President Obama and men are in Gov. Romney’s corner by about the same margin. This represents a slight increase for Romney among men and women. In some earlier polls, Obama’s lead among women had been in the high teens.

“Much of the difference between Obama’s solid lead at this point four years ago and today in the swing states and nationally is the drop in the president’s support among white voters, especially in Florida, where he trails 59 – 37 percent among whites, a group he lost 56 – 42 percent in 2008, when he got 43 percent of the white vote nationally. But the president is getting about 95 percent of African-Americans in these states,” Brown said. “In general, voters prefer Obama on a majority of issues and characteristics and rate the two candidates roughly even on the big one – the economy. Likely voters think Obama better understands their needs and problems, but more voters see Romney as a strong leader.”

Looking at Florida more closely, women likely voters back Obama 53 – 43 percent, down from 58 – 39 percent in September. Men back Romney 52 – 43 percent, compared to 50 – 47 percent in September. White voters go Republican 59 – 37 percent, while black voters go Democratic 96 – 2 percent and Hispanic voters back Obama 57 – 39 percent.

Independent voters back Romney by a slim 49 – 44 percent margin, but appear to be voting Romney in early voting, according to the Miami Herald. That may be the key to a Romney win in Florida, unless the Independent vote is overwhelmed by the Hispanic vote–which is for Obama (but not nearly as heavily in his favor as in other states).

The economy is the most important election issue for 51 percent of Florida voters, while 15 percent list health care and 9 percent cite Medicare.

The nation’s economy is getting better, voters say 42 – 33 percent and Florida’s economy is getting better, voters say 37 – 25 percent, with 36 percent who say it is unchanged.

Obama cares about their needs and problems, voters say 60 – 38 percent, but they are divided on Romney as 47 percent say he cares and 49 percent say he doesn’t care. Romney has strong leadership qualities, voters say 65 – 31 percent, compared to 55 – 43 percent for Obama.

In Florida’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson leads U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, the Republican challenger, 52 – 39 percent. Independent voters back Nelson 52 – 36 percent.

Florida voters disapprove 45 – 39 percent of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing.

“The president has a 57 – 39 percent lead among Hispanics in Florida, almost certainly a smaller margin among Latino voters than he will get in most if not all other states,” Brown said. “The difference is that Cuban-Americans, generally more Republican than other Latino groups, are a much larger share of the Hispanic vote in the Sunshine State.”

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32 Responses for “Obama Clings to Smallest Lead in Florida, But His Ohio Margin May Make Florida Irrelevant”

  1. johnny taxpayer says:

    Calling Rasmusen’s polling methods questionable while at the same time holding out the Quinnipiac Florida poll is pretty interesting. The Quinnipiac poll is based on an 8 point democrat turn out advantage, which matches 2008. I’m not sure any serious pollster would consider it likely that the democrats would have the same turnout advantage of 2008.
    There are quite a few reasons why this is not likely to happen. A) some percentage of republicans sat on their hands in 2008 unhappy with McCain as their candidate. This won’t happen again. b) this turn out model completely ignores the 2010 mid-term elections., and C) it ignores the shift in voter registrations since 2008 from 42% dem to 41%, with an increase in independents from 18.5% to 21%. The poll itself shows Romney winning independents by about 5%.
    Even with an 8 point turnout advantage in 2008, Obama only won Florida by 2.8 percentage points (51-48.2).
    Then you can just look at intangibles. Virtually nobody who voted for McCain in 2008 will vote for Obama in 2012. But there is a certain percentage of people who voted for Obama in 2008 who will not vote for him in 2012. When couple in how unlikely it is for Democrats to have an 8point turn out advantage this go round, Obama will loose Florida.

    You heard it here first, Johnny Tax Payer is predicting Romney will carry Florida 52-48. He will carry Ohio 51-49. and he will win the election by at least 25 electoral college votes. Check back next Wednesday and tell me how right I was.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Johnny taxpayer, you may well be right about the final outcome, but the electoral college margin has me intrigued. I’m running the possibilities (this is a particularly addictive site), and for a 25-vote margin, Romney would have to carry (in addition to Ohio and Florida), Virginia, Iowa and Colorado. I’m pretty sure Florida and Virginia will be Romney’s, but not so sure about Iowa, in which case–if Iowa goes Obama–it may come down to unlikely Colorado and its 9 votes, which are currently leaning Romney. But that would give him an eight-vote win. All academic of course: a win is a win, regardless of the margin. But we might as well enjoy the numerical ride on the way. Of course all those scenarios are out the window if Obama holds on to Ohio. Dave Sullivan raises even more curious possibilities. But Minnesota? The only state that went Mondale in the Reagan landslide of ’84?

      • johnny taxpayer says:

        I see Romney getting Virginia and either Colorado or Wisconsin, or both. I have a hard time seeing Obama up by as much as 8 in Wisconsin when Scott Walker won state wide by 7, twice in two years. Not to mention you have Paul Ryan on the ticket. Either combination of those should give Romney at least a 25+ edge.

        Regarding Mondale, let’s not forget he was from MN and had won state wide elections in MN 3 times previous (2 as Senator 1 as AG). Which leads to probably my most concerning stat about Romney. He won’t win MA. And it’s never a good thing to lose your home state, just ask big Al!

  2. Dave Sullivan says:

    FlaglerLive nice spin of the facts, you write well. There is little doubt
    now that Florida will be solidly Romney/Ryan especially in view of
    Early Voting at this point. Florida, Virginia and the rest of the South
    (not sure if Maryland is a southern State these days) will go for Romey.
    I agree that Ohio is important but no longer the key that it once was.
    It is still in doubt but leaning Obama but the Romney route to an Electoral
    College victory is not as tough as you think. Colorado is trending toward Romney,the
    Big newspaper in Iowa has endorsed Romney, Wisconsin has a very
    Strong Republican ground game because of the recall fiasco the Dems
    Attempted there. Obama team is now having to spend money
    in Michigan, minn

    • Dave Sullivan says:

      Minn. and Pennsylvania. Big story on Election Day will be Romey
      wins Presidency without needing Ohio. However, we will
      Just have to wait see Tuesday evening.

  3. Dadgum says:

    You mean Wednesday morning and then some. May be a slug fest all night long? Hanging Chads 8 years ago. what’s it going to be now? Electoral Votes.

  4. Dorothea says:

    @johnny taxpayer

    I see a completely different outcome. As the nation looks on and understands the necessity of government in the aftermath of Sandy, they will support President Obama in the battleground states. Voters will see Romney’s lies, such as Romney’s latest outrage in claiming that Jeep is moving to China, as the words of a desperate and losing candidate. Even Republican NJ governor, Chris Christie sees the handwriting on the wall; Romney is going to lose.

    The deep south will continue to cling to Romney, but not in the states where it counts. Romney will loose Ohio and will not be able to get enough electoral votes to win. In any event, the northeast will rise from the devastation of Sandy, providing jobs and rebuilding their infrastructure better than before. While the deep south and other red states stay mired in their rejection of climate change and science in general, the rest of the country will rise up and meet the challenges of this century. I see Obama winning and the Democrats getting and keeping control.

    Senator Bill Nelson is beating his Republican challenger by double digits. So even Florida is looking good for Obama.

    • johnny taxpayer says:

      Nelson will win Florida because Connie Mack is a joke of a candidate, and contrary to popular belief, a lot of conservatives are not party line voters. But Nelson ahead in the polls doesn’t = Obama winning Florida. Look at Nevada in 2010. Two Reid’s on the ballot statewide, Dingy Harry wins reelection to senate, but his son Rory loses the Governorship.

    • Iva Hadit says:

      Well said, Dorothea.

  5. Stevie says:

    No mention of the Benghazi on this site? Can’t imagine voting for someone who watches Americans die in real time, refuses to help from them, and then lies about the whole thing. How can anyone trust anything this President tells us at this point?

  6. Dorothea says:


    You and Romney have something in common, you both will say anything even if it’s not true. Please provide a source for your notion that Obama was watching the attack on the the Benghazi Consulate and REFUSED to help.

  7. Stevie says:

    Nice try. The news on Benghazi is every where but the lame stream media. I don’t believe the Queen of fact finding can’t find this story.

  8. Karma says:

    @ Dorthea
    Lets start with this story. The State Dept was warned well in advance. Looks like some people in the State Dept want the truth to come out. They know the MSM will not do anything.

  9. Dorothea says:

    Here is exactly what Stevie claimed:

    “Can’t imagine voting for someone who watches Americans die in real time, refuses to help from them, and then lies about the whole thing.”

    I didn’t find any facts in these articles that Stevie’s statement is correct other than insinuations from Fox News and from Bill Bennett, both extremely partisan Republican mouthpieces. There were also rebuttals in these articles that would further dispute Stevie’s version of events.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think Dorothea is RIGHTabout the part on 0bama watching americans die. I do not think he gave a rats a** about them as he had more important things on his mind like going to a fundraiser the next day.

  10. Stevie says:

    Let’s play Jeopardy. What is Google? Just type in Benghazi and see what comes up. The emails are out in the public domain that proves Obama lied about the video.

    Now the hurricane scene is unraveling in spite of the GREAT ONE telling us no one will be left behind. They are dumpster diving for food. Staten Island is pleading for food.

    This President follows the same pattern as he has for the past four years. It all sounds good, then turns out BAD. None of the lame stream media is doing any investigating on any of the two biggest stories of our time, the next FEMA failure….hurricane Sandy and the WH cover up….Benghazi.

    Get your head out of the sand.

  11. Karma says:

    The father of the former Navy Seal Tyrone Wood said it best to Obama
    ‘It’s better to die a hero than live a coward’:
    Dorthea, Whats really sad is Fox News is the only news organization investigating the story. Blaming Fox News will not make the story go away though. Wouldn’t you like to know what REALLY happened there? Or are you more worried that the President would not be re-elected should the truth come out.
    Maybe you want to call this workplace violence like they did in Ft Hood Texas. That seems to make the death of American heroes not as bad as terrorism.

  12. Dorothea says:


    I would prefer to wait for the proper authorities to finish their investigation before drawing any conclusions. There is so much conflicting information out there that I have no opinions as to exactly what happened. Fox has is notoriously right-wing biased and I would not believe anything they say. I’m not worried about the President being re-elected because he will be.

    Tyrone Woods was a CIA operative, not an employee of the State Department. The Benghazi Consulate was actually run by the CIA.

  13. Magnolia says:

    Dorothea, if you are interested, I found this today:

    The Washington Times reported that on October 26, “Ambassador” posted the following RUMINT on TigerDroppings (h/t Jim Hoft): …

    “(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. ” And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.

    The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

    General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.”
    Had the Obama administration been at all concerned for saving the lives of these four Americans, including our ambassador, they could have stopped the mortar fire that eventually killed them simply by allowing an AC-130U Gunship — a powerful, nearby weapon that could have halted the destruction — to fire…
    Obama and Sec. of Defense Panetta could have given Gen. Ham the green-light to save those four killed.
    But they didn’t.”

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Magnolia, I have to point out I feel there are a few errors in your suppositions. If I may:

      1. General Ham was in Stuttgart, Germany where Africom is based, not near Benghazi as you said.
      2. The Ambassador was not killed by mortars, he was captured alive and reportedly sodomized and humiliated before being killed.
      3. You cannot use a C130 Spectre gunship to target anything within 100 yards of friendly forces without a good chance of killing them.
      4. There id no way you send an Ambassador or any American organization like the CIA annex in a war zone like this without overwhelming security. Why is it we don’t know who this was supposed to be?

  14. Karma says:

    Do you think this administration(White House) and all the Departments within this administration have been telling the American people the truth about Benghazi from September 12 thru today? Or is it still the fog of war?

  15. Dorothea says:


    Read the article that I posted with today’s new information from United Press International. The Moonie newspaper’s (the Washington Times) article, is not only from a week ago, but the Washington Times has a strong right wing bias.


    As new information keeps coming in, I repeat, I will reserve my opinion until all appropriate investigations have been concluded.

  16. NortonSmitty says:

    Myself, I believe that every poll is skewed as they all consider either “likely voters” or past histories of voting to predict turnout. They’re all wrong. They all drastically underestimate the coming turnout engineered and extremely motivated by the Republican Machine. Their is an unprecedented mob-like wave driven by a hatred drilled into them for four years by a propaganda juggernaut Joseph Goebbels himself could have not imagined in his greatest wet dream. Using all the usual tools. Fear, resentment, patriotism, envy, class and undeniably, Racism. Each one targeting a slice pf a wide spectrum of the “Low-Information Voters ” that comprise the base of the Corporatist/Fascist money machine known as the Republican Party. And you could not keep them from voting with fire hoses and Police Dogs.

    Add to that the critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, etc. all have Republican Governors and their minions controlling the vote, and Catherine Harris showed us all how important that could be in 2000. And don’t forget Sec. State Ken Blackwell in Ohio, the state that clinched it for W in ’04. I know you never heard of it, but at Midnight on election night, Kerry had a lead on the official returns. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of votes poured in for ‘ol George. Including Perry County where Bush/Cheney got 124% of the number of registered voters. That there is a mandate, folks!

    Don’t believe me? Here’s Harpers Magazines take on it, hardly a liberal rag: or Google Mike Connell who was Carl Roves IT liaison to Diebold Corp. They are based in Canton and the CEO stated in August “I will do everything in my power to insure George Bush wins this election.” He was finally subpoenaed to testify in front of a Grand Jury in Cleveland to answer questions about his role, but unfortunately the Beech Bonanza he was flying crashed the night before his appearance. He requested protection from Attn’y General Mukasey at the time but too late:

    One more Fun Fact. When we send Jimmy Carter or any other observers to a foreign country to certify if the election was legitimate, free and fair, one of the most reliable tools they use is exit polling. This is where they ask voters leaving the polling station who they had voted for. If the count they get is more than 2% off of the official count, the election is considered fraudulent and goes unrecognized by the International Community. Every state in the Union met this standard, except one. Ohio was off by 7.5% as reported by several media outlets if you really looked for it. We have relied on our Free Press to perform this important function for decades, even if it was only whispered. For some reason, on Oct. 4th, the AP and all the TV networks announced they were cancelling exit polls in 19 states this election. Go figure.

    And by the way, can anyone explain to me just why the votes we cast here in Florida and 11 other states with Republican Governors are tabulated by a company in Spain called Scytl Corp. who will tell us the winners? We don’t have a company here who could do it? This should raise enough of a red flag I will not even ask you to consider the question of the owners of Scytl and their loyalties. Look it up yourself.

    I used to tell everyone as a hoot to make sure they vote for Democrats, because it was better to support the spineless than the evil. Suddenly that doesn’t sound so funny anymore.

  17. Dorothea says:

    More information contradicting Fox News lies:,0,2438659.story


    “At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” a senior intelligence official said in a statement. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”


    “Washington Post’s David Ignatius has gone as far as to produce a detailed minute-by-minute timeline, of the events that night. These reports together give the clearest picture yet of the events in Benghazi. Rather than the Obama Presidency unraveling as the news organization has claimed, it appears to be Fox News’ narrative that is coming undone instead.”

  18. Karma says:

    The newspaper can get this timeline in such detail about the night of Sept 11th yet the Commander and Chief and the secretory of State can not. Five days after the attack, Susan Rice appeared on 5 Sunday morning shows saying it was the video. Jay Carney said the same thing for a week after the attack. Hillary blamed the video during the four men funeral. Someone is lying or this administration is the must incompetent known to man. But then again, we know how important a fundraiser in Las Vegas can be to a re-election campaign. The President has his priorities and the people of NYC are starting to see that now!

  19. Dorothea says:


    The timeline that you refer to was published by David Ignatius on October 30, more than six weeks after the attack on Benghazi on September 11. Yet you expect a complete report within a one week?

    I have spent a lot of time researching all of the news articles I can find and it is clear that Fox News lied. You are intent on ignoring the facts and throwing more garbage at the fan, most of it originating from Fox News or Breitbart’s website. Give up already. Romney even ignores the Benghazi issue now because he knows it is a loser, prefering instead to lie about Jeep moving to China.

    Most residents of New York City and New Jersey are pleased with the progress post Sandy, including Mayor Bloomberg, who now endorses Obama and Governor Christie who gave Obama kudos on his support. Only the die-hard Romney supporters who live outside the area are continuing their hate campaign. As I said before, give it a rest already. Romney’s a loser.

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